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Everyone loves a cheesy Christmas film. It’s one of the staples of my Christmas: no matter who I’m with, be it my mum, flatmate, or boyfriend, at some point, we will go on Netflix and find the cheesiest Christmas film possible. Here’s a definitive tier list of all the so-bad-they’re-good Christmas films for your viewing pleasure this season!
Holiday in the Wild
This film is so unbelievably dry and forgettable. I sat down to watch it and was immediately put off by the bland description, and it didn’t get better. A newly single woman goes to Africa and ends up staying to help save elephants, and in the meantime meets a handsome pilot (Rob Lowe, the best eye candy of the film). It was bad, but not so bad it was good. I spent the majority of the film scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, which, tragically, was far more interesting than this film.
A Christmas Wedding in New York
I wanted to like this film so badly. It had so much promise: a camp angel, a lesbian love story, an alternate universe… and then it changed. There are no other words for it than weirdly Catholic, disjointed, and ridiculous. A woman wakes up one morning to find that she is in an alternate world where she is now engaged to her childhood best friend who died 20 years ago. It was bad, but then towards the end, there was the WORST plot twist that I have ever had to endure. My flatmate was incredibly angry at me for making him watch it all.
Christmas Made to Order
My internet connection gave out during this film and I didn’t even reconnect and finish it. It was so fake and terrible and made me cringe so hard that I couldn’t even enjoy the half an hour that I actually saw. About a workaholic architect hosting his family for Christmas and a professional decorator who connect after he hires her to make his house Christmassy, it is pretty terrible.
The Princess Switch, The Princess Switch: Switched Again
I don’t know why Netflix loves royalty-themed Christmas films, but they have a lot (you’ll see in the top tier). Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens, our Christmas movie queen) runs a bakery with her friend Kevin, and at a baking competition in the country of Belgravia, she bumps into the Duchess of Montenaro, Lady Margaret, her doppelganger. You can guess what happens next: they swap places for a bit and find love. Switched Again features the two women swapping places again, but another doppelganger is on the loose and trying to steal the throne. It’s a very fun series, and perfect for a casual Christmas watch, but cliché and predictable – and there was only room for one royal-themed Christmas series in the top tier.
This film is actually pretty good, but it doesn’t do enough to get into the top tier. The premise is pretty basic: two single friends, Sloane and Jackson, decide to be each other’s dates for the holiday season as long as they are both single. Predictable, but pretty self-aware, it ends up being rather charming and cheesy rather than bland.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
This only makes it to mid-tier because Dolly Parton and Christine Baranski are in it. Baranski stars as a bitter woman with a tragic past trying to sell the whole town so that she can get away for a fresh start, but with the help of two angels (one of which is Dolly herself), she turns her life around and finds family and love. The songs are cheesy, and the story is predictable, but it’s a cute feel-good film to watch when you’re feeling down.
A Christmas Prince, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
These are classic Christmas staples in my household. Cheesy, funny, and going overboard on the Christmas theme – it’s everything you need for a Christmas film. We follow ambitious journalist Amber as she infiltrates the royal family of Aldovia, posing as the young Princess Emily’s new tutor, and falling for the handsome prince who she has been assigned to write a story on. There are more plot holes than you can shake a stick at (why don’t they ask her for ID if she’s going to tutor a princess!?), but it’s very good fun to watch and laugh at with your flatmates. The series gets cheesier as it goes on, with the royal wedding featuring one of the worst wedding dresses I’ve ever seen, and the third film trying its hand at a whodunnit crime thriller (but a Christmassy version with a heavily pregnant lady). This series is very much a case of so bad it’s amazing.
The Christmas Chronicles
I had so much fun with this film! It’s not a classic Christmas film based around romance, but instead focuses on two siblings (younger sister Kate and teenage Teddy) finding Santa and helping him deliver all the Christmas presents when they accidentally crash his sleigh. Heart-warming, genuinely funny, and vastly entertaining, it’s a perfect Christmas film. It also has a sequel coming, which will (hopefully) be as good as the first!
The Knight Before Christmas
The most confusing, funny, dumb Christmas film you will ever watch. I watched it last year with my best friend and we spent the entire film dying laughing about how nothing made sense. Why is this 14th-century knight so weirdly calm about being thrown into the 21st century? Why is Vanessa Hudgens in every single Netflix Christmas film? We follow high school teacher Brooke, a woman disillusioned with love after her ex cheated on her, who hits a knight called Sir Cole (who, of course, has been transported to the 21st century by a strange witch) with her car, and, thinking he is simply suffering from memory loss, takes him in until he can ‘recover his memory’. Along the way, their feelings for one another grow, but will Sir Cole return to the 14th century and leave Brooke behind? I was hoping for a sequel this year, as the film ended with a perfect setup, but sadly I think COVID-19 got in the way. This is the most bizarre Christmas film I have ever seen, and I loved every minute of it.